Partner has put you to a lovely slam after the excellent bidding sequence shown below, from an IMP match. You have to live up to his expectations.
Contract: 6H by south. West leads the D2. Plan the play.
Bidding comment: NS were playing Precision. North made a good bid of 1N at his second turn to show a double stopper in spades. After south rebid his hearts, north suggested slam with his 3H bid. The redouble of 3S indicated first round control. 5D showed 1 or 4 key-cards. As south had a doubt, he signed off in 5H which north correctly raised to slam.
Analysis: Let us count your tricks. You have one spade, six hearts, two clubs, and three diamonds for a total of twelve tricks. The point, however, is that to arrive at three diamond tricks, you need to play twice towards your diamond honours from dummy.
How the play went: Declarer put up dummy’s ace, drew trumps, and entered dummy by the club ace. After cashing the spade ace to pitch the losing club from hand, declarer led a diamond from dummy. East followed with the eight and declarer won with the jack in hand. As there was no entry to dummy to lead another diamond, declarer went down. The complete hands were:
Correct play: Win the opening lead with the ace, play a trump to your ace and one more to dummy’s king. Lead a diamond from dummy. East plays low. You win and draw the last trump. Cross to the club ace, discard a club on the spade ace, and lead the last diamond from dummy and chalk up the slam.
Discussion: There were many interesting points in both bidding and the play of the hand:
It is important to note that partner did not double 1S. It would certainly be for penalty as game-force has been established by your positive response. For one thing he should be confident of defeating EW by four tricks. For another, the penalty may not be profitable if slam is on for you.
Partner’s 3H was an excellent bid which suggested that slam was a possibility. If he had held a different hand, say, S K-Q-x-x H K-x D K-x-x C A-J-x-x, he might have bid 4H as fast arrival to show no slam interest.
As for the play, the point of the hand is that you should be able to lead diamonds twice from dummy and also not run into a ruff. Declarer should realise that it will be possible only if west has just two trumps.
It is important to keep in mind the above recurring theme ‘hand with the length in a side suit should also have length in trumps’. This has come in handy on numerous occasions that I have lost count of.